On 7 September 2015 the Co-operative Group launched a national pilot of its new 'Co-operative Local Forum' (CLF) concept in 37 places across the UK. The pilot will operate for a 6 month pilot period. The concept came from a workstream of the transitional National Member Council on 'sub national structures', and draws strongly on the 'co-operative clusters' advocated by Co-operative Springboard.
In his latest blog post, journalist Andrew Bibby, who writes extensively on coop issues, lends his support to the store cluster idea as a way of "reinvigorating the Group’s democracy and membership from the bottom-up".
Co-operatives UK has responded to the 'straw man' proposals currently under discussion in the Group. In a paper authored by by
The four point motion proposed by the Group board to the special general meeting 17 May was passed unanimously.
The motion read:
This Special General Meeting hereby agrees to:
- The creation of a Board of directors elected by members that is individually and collectively qualified to lead an organisation of the size and complexity of The Co-operative Group
Sir Graham Melmoth called for a consultation process on reform proposals in remarks to a conference in Manchester (16 May). The former chief executive of the Co-op is famous for fighting off Andrew Regan's attempt to de-mutualise the Group in the 1990's.
In a lengthy response published today, Lord Myners responds to the proposals put forward by Co-operatives UK for ammendments to his recommendations for governance reform.
You can read the full document here.
Co-operatives UK has proposed three possible modifications to the Myners proposals that it believes will "address potential risks and draw on co-operative governance experience worldwide".
Authored by Helen Barber, Johnston Birchall and Ed Mayo, the report proposes three additions to Myners - presumably not alternative options:
Option One: The Nomination Committee is a sub-committee of the National Membership Council, rather than being controlled directly by the Group Board.
The Co-operative Group has responded to Lord Myners' report:
The Co-operative Group welcomes the report issued today by Lord Myners, Senior Independent Director of The Co-operative Group Board. Lord Myners was asked to lead an independent, comprehensive review of the Group’s governance in December 2013.
Ursula Lidbetter, Chair of The Co-operative Group, said:
Lord Myners has published his report today (7 May).
You can read it here
We will be asking for views on the report in a survey here soon.
Members will be able to put questions to Lord Myners and Co-operative Group Chair Ursula Lidbetter at two webinars in the coming week. We urge members, elected members and employees to take up this opportunity to widen the debate:
The Kelly review into what went wrong at the bank was published today.
In its response the Co-op Group welcomed the report. Richard Pennycook said: "the management that instigated this disaster for the Group are no longer in place; the flawed governance structure that failed to apply the right checks and balances, however, remains."
In the same spirit of open debate that inspired Springboard, The Phone Co-op board has decided to publish its submission to the Myners review.
You can read the submission here.
Lord Myners explained the proposals set out in his interim review in a webinar broadcast on Monday night.
Click here to read the interim review
Co-op specialist lawyer Ian Snaith, known to many co-op activists, has posted his take on the Myner's recommendations on his website.
Lord Myners has published a progress report on his review of governance.
Click here to read the review
A petition has been launched on 38degrees to halt the sale of The Co-operative farms.
Financial journalist Frances Coppola analyses the crisis on her blog - and refers to Springboard.
"Co-op Pundit" Edgar Parnell, known to many in the movement published a new blog 13 March calling for "unity, vision and transition".
Co-operative member Peter Cox got so fed up with the lack of places to debate what is happening in the Co-operative Group, he set up a new blog: Reclaim Our Coop
Visitors to the site can post comments and contributions are also welcome.
Ursula Lidbetter, chair of The Co-operative Group accepted the resignation of chief executive Euan Sutherland on 11 March.
According to media reports, an emergency board meeting agreed a new model for governance at the top of the Group with a baord including executives and independent non-executives along side elected members. This board will be appointed by a separate 'supervisory' board wholly made up of elected members.
Suggestions that The Co-operative Group could significantly reduce debt by raising capital from members were dismissed by Richard Pennycook (then CFO now acting CEO) at the last Half Yearly Meeting.
Credit Mutuel sees it differently. It is seeking to raise a staggering €3.9bn from members to reduce debt incurred from recent acquistions.
BBC reporting 11 March that Euan Sutherland has offered his resignation unless the group is restructured.
Springboard.coop supporters will be wondering whether the Group board has scored a massive own goal with the story about proposed executive pay increases in the Observer 9 March. Only proposals so far.
If you have a comment about this, why not post it here?
Lord Myners here being interviewed about the process. This was sent round to elected members Friday 7 March.
Click here to view
Lord Myners conducted a "webinar" on Wednesday 26 February, watched by some 250 people.
He answered questions from mostly elected members. You can view the webinar here.
We'd love you to share what you think about the webinar by commenting below.
And e-mail sent by former deputy chairman of the Co-operative Bank, Rodney Baker-Bates, implies that KPMG might be asked to perform "financial engineering" to support the case for the Co-op Bank takeover of Lloyds Branches.
The e-mail was one of a number supplied to a treasury select committee investigating the failure of the deal. The Independent points out that the correspondence "paints a picture of a profoundly dysfunctional institution and casts an unflattering light on bitchiness and backbiting in the boardroom".